Do You Have a Google Ads Consultant Badge? A Shiny One?
Before you start reading this, let’s get one thing straight, this article is told against me, and in the memoir of my “Google Ads Consultant” days, running around managing multiple accounts. It’s not that I don’t or can’t do this anymore, just the major difference is that I have learnt a couple of tricks and treats (pun - we are in Halloween season) that took my SEM results to another level. As a marketer and Google Ads consultant, I have worked with several businesses ranging from e-commerce, manufacturing and SaaS. I have always been passionate about content, customer acquisition and building out sales funnels.
When it comes to the nature of a search engine marketer, you have to handle a lot of things that include Content strategy, SEO, Paid Media, and more. Not to mention your role as an “official” Google Ads consultant, especially when you have the google badge! Oh, “you must know your onions”, they say! But actually, you don’t. Google badges, don’t mean a thing, period.
Running and managing Google ads campaigns for different industries and buyer personas isn’t easy. You have to deliver results consistently, if not you lose your client. Things can start to get tough when you are working with multiple projects with a lot of moving parts, not to mention that you are possibly working with them on their SEO at the same time.
I still remember a time when I used to work with more than 10 clients simultaneously. Managing Google Ads accounts of over 10 companies isn’t your Sunday cup of tea! I made a lot of mistakes that I think I should share with businesses, advertisers, marketers, and consultants. And if you are an official “Google Ads Consultant” or “Guru” bear in mind the following 3 mistakes I made, and you are probably making them too.
So, let’s get great.
1. Split Testing Underestimation
One of the most crucial mistakes that I made being a Google Ads consultant is that I underestimated the power and usefulness of split testing. The value that split testing brings to the table was something I understood way too late in my career.
Let me explain how split testing can help you get better at Google Ads.
Split testing is used for carrying A/B tests that let you compare multiple ad variations to find the ads that convert better and perform well on other metrics (e.g. ROI, ROAS, CTR, CPC, etc.).
Here is an example of how PPC split testing works:
Creating multiple ad variations is a great way to test and tweak different elements of the ads. You can tweak the headline and see how it impacts the conversion rate. Choose the winning variation and tweak it further to improve the conversion rate. And so on.
When I started running Google Ads for companies, I used to create multiple ads in each ad group. All the ads that didn’t work after a week, I used to pause them. And then I used to create more ads to replace the paused ads.
The problem with this technique was that I had to do a lot of work because I had to create new ads for the same landing page multiple times. Not just that it was time-consuming, but I wasn’t split testing at all. If an ad doesn’t work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the full ad is useless. This rarely happens. It might have a bad headline, there might be an issue with the copy, or the landing page might not be relevant to the ad copy.
Sometimes, removing or adding a word in the ad headline or copy does wonders.
Don’t underestimate the curious nature of the eye and how this affects the subconscious decision making that will end in a click on your ad.
Here is an example:
Simply reversing the lines in the ad copy improved CTR significantly.
Now imagine, you end up pausing this ad without reversing these two lines. You'll miss a lot of traffic, right? This is what I was doing until I found out that split testing was more profitable than just pausing and redoing! Not only I saved time (more clients ) but it also allowed me to learn so much more about my buyer persona!
Split testing is a must as it improves the ad performance and will give you insights that you never had before that will help you build out your buyer persona. In fact, not creating and testing ad variations means you are wasting a tonne of money on un converting ads, both copy and ad creative. It is sabotaging your compound growth.
Google Ads has a built-in feature that lets you test headlines and paths. It provides you with the basic split testing feature that helps you find the best-performing headline and landing page:
You can create and test variations manually without any issues. All you have to do is create multiple ads with variations and run them simultaneously. Pause the variation that doesn’t work well and create more variations of the winning ad.
Keep repeating this until you improve your ads exponentially. This is a must if your “Google Ads Consultant” career is going be as successful as you always dreamed of!
2. Lack of Click Fraud Awareness
One of the biggest truths about PPC is click fraud. Invalid traffic (IVT) ruins your ad budget if not taken care of. One in five of all US programmatic ads in 2019 had invalid traffic. One out of every three dollars spent on PPC ads is wasted because of click fraud. Your ads might receive invalid clicks and impressions that will exhaust your budget without any positive impact on the conversion rate. I had no idea of click fraud, bot farms, and invalid traffic as a Google Ads consultant initially. It ruined my ad performance as my campaigns received a lot of invalid traffic (found later). This was one of the biggest mistakes I made in my career.
Once I found out about click fraud, I started digging deep. Here is what I found.
Click fraud is a gigantic industry that costs PPC advertisers up to $51 million per day and the global invalid click cost in 2020 is expected to cross $23 billion. Interestingly, 90% of click fraud is attributed to bots.
But why click fraud exists in the first place?
Well, there are several reasons such as:
- Competitors sending traffic to exhaust your budget
- Publishers click ads to increase their earnings
- Publishers using bots to increase earnings
- Fraudsters using fake ads to earn from ad networks
When I realized how big this click fraud industry is and that all ads receive invalid clicks, I searched for ways to safeguard my ads from invalid clicks. The best way to safeguard your ads from invalid clicks is by identifying and blocking IP addresses that send IVT.
Google Ads has its own invalid traffic filters and it ensures that your ads receive legitimate clicks. It lets you exclude IP addresses that send fraudulent clicks.
But the problem isn’t excluding IP addresses rather finding fraudulent IP addresses. This is where you need a click fraud detection and protection tool.
Click bots and bot farms are so sophisticated that they replicate human behaviour. It is way too tough to differentiate between a click bot and a real human because bots look the same as humans. Bots interact with your landing page, scroll, click randomly on the landing page, are detected by heatmaps and scroll maps, and some of them even fill and submit forms.
This makes it very hard to find, expose and block invalid clicks. Being a Google Ads consultant you must defend your customers budget with tenacity and perseverance!
You can’t do it without a click fraud detection and protection tool like ClickGUARD that blocks invalid traffic automatically. It integrates with your Google Ads account and ensures that your ads don’t receive invalid traffic at all.
You'll get access to all the traffic statistics, IP addresses, and relevant details from ClickGUARD. It keeps things transparent and doesn’t just block invalid traffic without sharing insights. And this is one of the most important features that you have to look for in any click fraud detection tool. Your tool must not keep you in the dark by blocking IPs without giving you full control over traffic.
3. Reinventing the Wheel
The third mistake that I made was that I tried to reinvent the wheel when running Google Ads. I ignored the basic advertising and psychology rules and didn’t bother looking at the best-performing display ads.
I used to come up with my own creatives that I thought would convert. I had no formula or a layout to create ads back then. I used to come up with anything that looked relevant and appealed to our buyer persona, and that’s it. Here I was writing my own copy, creating the ads and formulating some picture of success in mind without any procedure or research.
The ads used to work, and I did get my customers conversions, but the problem was whenever a display ad used to outperform, I had no idea how to replicate it. Since I had no set pattern for creating display ads, I couldn't replicate the top ads to other campaigns.
It all changed when I started looking at the best display ad examples from top brands. I started looking at patterns and started taking ideas from the best Google display ads. After critically analyzing hundreds of top display ads, I found that reinventing the wheel is a bad idea. All you have to do is stick with the basics and see what types of ads work and create similar display ads for your campaigns.
Another key that unlocked by copy and perception of value was the following:
If you are going to script an ad or draft it before creating any of the assets, think of it like this:
"Mr Spray" keeps your smelling great all day so you can do what you do better!
See what I just did?
- Problem - not smelling great
- Value - smell great all-day
- How - Mr Spray
- Benefit - get better at what you do
- Why - because you have peace of mind that Mr Spray has your back
When I started doing this, I saw a significant increase in CTR and ROAS of all the campaigns.
Closely monitoring top-performing ads will help you understand what colours work, how to use power words, how to trigger emotions, how to create CTAs, and more. You don’t have to replicate the same ads, rather you need to take ideas and come up with your own ads.
The basics of advertising don’t change. There is one rule that you must follow: Connect emotionally with your target audience.
How to do it?
Look at the best Google display ad examples to get ideas, use the formula of X & Y and split test!
Once you understand the basics of creating display ads that work, you'll be able to create variations and create new ads successfully and quickly.
Don't Be Like Me
Google Ads is an awesome ad network that has a lot to deliver, not to mention career opportunities. It is the largest ad network with the highest market share. It is growing and getting bigger. When you are working with such a huge ad network that updates its system and platform several times a year, it is evident that you'll make mistakes.
It requires trial and error. There is no recipe for success, and no honest “Google Ads Consultant” or "Guru" will tell you its "easy”.
The best marketers are the ones who learn from other people. I made these mistakes but I'm happy that I figured them out, learned, and evolved. The important thing is learning from your mistakes and continually challenge your strategy and methods.
Start now, because I started way to late.